Saturday, March 31, 2007

Harry N. Konst, Esq. of the Sicilian trip just emailed the lot of us to inform that the day after we left Sicily Mount Etna blew some vulanized molecules into the crisp air.

CBS News RAW: The southeastern crater of Sicily's snow-covered Mt. Etna volcano belched lava, smoke and ash. Vulcanologists say this latest eruptive spell poses no danger to people.

When You witness how closely people live near the craters You do wonder.
Yours Truly has met her fair share of vulcanologists at the big U and have concluded thusly: Vulcanologists are a nutty bunch.
Do we trust their words, these magma weather people.

One of the more unforgettable Sicily images emblazoned is the hardened, antique lava flows that remain on the landscape - deep, black rock, in Euro parlance a few meters high/deep. The devastation possibilites of these wide paths of lava is there, right there, remaining from every flow.

Last night had a job for the big U and had to shuffle dozens upon dozens of awardees to and fro, a real work-out. I had an excellent suggestion to the event planners to efficiently keep groups of awardees (You see, they are categorically photographed, without getting into too many details) together - duct tape. They'd only be un-duct taped when they needed to be photographed - to heck with worries about delicate fabrics, documentation is more important. Left a cable behind at the locale (a pool-scented Holiday Inn in the suburbs) and had to return today to fetch it and discovered that the room so full of students last night was today full of evangels who were lunching ... books on Mother Theresa, paraphernalia on merch tables and confessions being heard in another, smaller banquet room.

In midst of another gig right now, in sub-midst of a break and need to head out to ghostful East Aurora soon. Exact locale is Roycroft, home of the best verandas in Western New York, in my non-humble op. A fine destination for sniffing their courtyard garden, enjoying a cocktail, maybe some light shopping.

Onwards to that crafty exurb of the Middling City.
After my absence the MC looks flat, dark. Where are the cactii, the vibrant flowers.
I ask. Coming, You reply.

Magmatic Love.

Friday, March 30, 2007

This is a very quick pick from the 600 or so Sicily images made during the past 9 or so days, made in the mountaintop city of Taormina, outside Saint Caterina Church near a shady piazza filled with gelato, people, taxis.
Inside, there are electric candles - plop in the Euros and screw in the candle's bulb of your choice. I suppose a good way to prevent fires, pesky wax drippings. I made images of these candles, as well as other churchly features like relics, and select marble floors.

Just finished several hours of judging a SUNY-wide photo contest for publications that promote various colleges and U's. Did so with boy colleague Marky Mulville of Middling City News fame, Deborah Parks of Canisius College. Claire Jones of Buffalo State College invited us to judge (I judged the newsletter category two years ago) and hosted our time together which we ended discussing the nature of students in this day and age of media saturation and the phenom of hellicopter parents.
The judging went swimmingly and we proffered up comments to the first and second place winners and the honorary mention.
One comment was written by Yours Truly - We enjoyed your images very much but would like to suggest that you pull back on the usage of PhotoShop filters.
Anyone in this racket, or who has ever played with that hyper-expansive software know the allures and massive pitfalls of using filters which, as I am wont to say, include the horrendous shower door filter.
Mulville and I stood in the sun afterwards discussing the diffs between Nikon and Canon, my adorable new Leica DLux2, cars, and other equipment matters.
Always good to talk shop, especially in the sun.
Onwards to deadlines both real and imagined.

Imaginary and real Love.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

If only Yours Truly had figured out this neato little techno bonus trick earlier I would have saved several Euros.
Someone on the hotel staff was, obviously, looking at internet porn whilst we were all eating our ultimate (as in final, not as in best) dinner on this Sicilian tour.
So I sit down at machine ready to fire it up with my paid-for i.d. number for access with meter running when I see a lurid page open and ready.
Actually, the window is underneath this window and the url is etc. etc.
(There was just now a colossal crash that came from the kitchen and/or dining room and then the traditional and subsequent roar of the crowd.
And now the sad sad sound of the sweeping up of glass.)
From here I zipped in the Yahoo url and then onwards to Blogger.
At one point the King, also referred to as The Godfather (the hotel proprietor who lurks about and does on occasion even sit in a carved, wooden chair resembling a throne in the lobby), hovered over me wondering what YT was up to.
We have caught suspicious eyes in the lobby, that King and I.
Today we bussed on over to Catania. Not to be confused with Calabria.
I did witness the parched and kind of mummified black hands, well, just bone, of a cardinal in a glass case. I was mesmerized. This viewing took place during a mid-day mass and so the lights in the showcase were on. A priest was singing quite well, a far far cry from the folkie-suffused warbling one usually hears from priests over there in the USofA.
Mass over. Lights in showcase off.
Show's over, leave.
Exeunt YT to the sunny sunny street and felt, as the day was moseying along, to walk at a Shiney Apple pace solo up a hillacious street toward a city wall or gate.
I did so at an alarmingly speedy pace, just breathing in the diesel fumes and feeling my face roasting in the sun.
I stopped for only the oddest of sights which included a traffic cop looking like he was holding a nice red lolly to direct the comings and goings around traffic.
I stopped also for a taste of grilled artichoke, 1 Euro.
Wended back to the less ghetto quarter and began looking for a motherly birthday gift as her birthday is the 28th, tomorrow, as we begin the 24-hour sojourn.
I could not find It.
In lieu of That I did find a Perfect pair of canvas cowboy boots which, despite my rule about buying European shoes, found themselves not only being purchased, but on my feet and walking out the store.
Amongst other stops stopped into an artist's studio and managed to be in there and made one single image of it and soaked up the trumpet-featured classical piece blaring from a hi-fi sans being noticed.
I later said to a few fellow tourmembers that I pondered making a citizen's arrest.
Dorota will get this joke.
But I will explain it to You.
There is a dearth of heart-stopping modern art in parts of Europe.
Mary and I co-hostessed a cocktail party for our fellows and it was fun.
Everyone felt our view was worth the shakedown extra Euros.
Onwards to the final night and the long trek back to Kennedy and the rest of the US.

Onwards, Love.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Yesterday was a day most Perfect, back in Taormina.
Wending through tight alleys, making some images, looking up at the stoney mountain I traipsed up and was surprised by the lady in shadows, not our lady of sorrows.
Ate at Nino's joint, a fine trattoria near the sea, and he insisted or strongly suggested we have a familyesque and trad Sicilian feast for the four of us. Out came the courses of fresh fishes, locally-grown vegetables, a sweet pea pod each for a taste refresher, vino, an apertif. All again just Perfect-perfetto.
On way to Nino's directions were asked to see if in sooth numero 37 was just up ahead on Via Pirandello. It and it were.
I strongly suggested to a man getting on his very stylish Italian motorbike that he give me a ride up around the bend to my luncheon.
He handed me his helmet, put down the passengerial footpegs and off we zoomed. I had a few moments of that travel wonderment (always solo) whilst standing on a stone wall overlooking the sea and down at greenery still unfamiliar - cactii, lush bouganvillea (Liz can send in corrections), camellia, et al.
Today was Mount Etna day.
Picked up loads of little lava rocks and lest You do not catch the joke here, so Euro, so geological, lava rocks are light you see for the magma that bursts forth as lava catches air when it is arrabiata up in the sky and after it has scorched the earth. Dried to sponge candy perfection.
(Luca is meandering behind me, hands crossed behind him so officially as he makes his way from lobby to kitchen, disappearing, as Julie the Cat would always like to do, into the cucina).
Mount Etna air is so crisp and the fog wraps around your face when the weather shifts.
Men in a Jeep show up looking all muddy about the knees and you can see in the back of the Jeep that there are provisions. From their dazed conditions you reckon they have peered into the crater. Or have been lost for days.
We more adventurous journeyers forge onwards and wonder at the chestnut trees, the endless rocks, the flora just awakening.
Onwards again.
Another twisting and turning of the bus to another hillock farm and vineyard owned by a Baron, Emanuele Scammacca del Murgo, who insisted upon meeting me and then images were made of the two of us together. He presented me with one of his books, as You see, he is also a photog. We photogs seek each other out. We talk or gesticulate moments, gadgets, glass, ops, chips, and the like.
He signed my book For Nancy Emanuele.
His wine was the best here yet, Murgo is the label.
Onwards to the pool where a nice glass of Asti awaits me.
I have new Etro shades and I may contact them to see if the corp would like to become my corporate sponsor.

Murgo, Etro, vino Love.

postscript for Literal Harold.
have some rather odd images quite appropriate for VH1, will send upon return to Middling City.

postscript for LH and all You others.
no postcards sent out by YT, they are all too hideous. Really.
You know I dig that oldschool tradition, they are really all too ugly, not a trace of irony upon them.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Today Mary and I have given the group the slip.
We are off shortly to Taormina, the fav spot so far, a hilly city with sea and mountains in the distances.
The place where I wended up the stone steps.
Yesterday was the mainland, Calabria, where I decided to procure a present for me (the usual something to wear from Europa) and where we later bussed off to farm country where we served a lavish lunch of products made on the farm - vino, cheese, meats, etc. There were goats tied to trees, herbs minding their business.
One of our two buses, the one Yours Truly was on, got stuck coming and going on the tight and winding roadway that no one ever imagined would see the likes of a bus such as this Mercedes-Benz behemoth. All the neighbors were out on their terraces watching. The owner of the joint heard the ruckus and drove his car down to witness and to join in some helpful gesticulations.
The slip was necessary to have less of the school marm thing going on and to get back to more of the poesie.
There are two minutes left on this internet card so it is time to exit, right out the lobby, past Julie the hotelcat, out into the cloudy day and toss myself into a taxi.

Poetic, far-away Love.